In what could have been a no-show, CK Jerk Shack got off to a 15 minute late start at the May 1st Orlando Food Truck Bazaar #2, and kept the great Island BBQ flowing with a few minor hiccups.
After being a spectator at Bazaar #1 (read my earlier blog), we were very excited to be one of the 15 food trucks at the May 1st Orlando Food Truck Bazaar #2 at the new and improved location at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando. That excitement quickly turned to horror as I arrived at the Maitland Farmers' Market at 2:30pm to pick up the Jerk Shack in preparation for the big event and noticed a huge problem with the smoker.
Apparently, my conscientious right-hand-man Mike who covered for me at the Market that morning had misaligned the rotisserie shelves upon cleaning, and accidentally left the shelves rotating after cleaning. As a result the motor was running but a shelf was jammed and the rotisserie would not spin. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have experience with this problem - yeah, I'm not perfect either. We manually dislodged the stuck shelf and the rotisserie rotated in the wrong direction, indicating that the electric motor gear and rotisserie was not engaged (a $100 repair). That was a blessing in disguise as I mistakenly had the weak point (by design) strengthened the first time this happened and the alternative is a mangled mess of steel shelves (a $1500 repair). That was Miracle #1!
So here Mike and I are happy the damage was minimal, but freaking-out because the rotisserie was busted and we have a major event to do in a couple hours and hundreds of pounds of pork, chicken and shrimp marinating. So I say to Mike, if you believe in prayer, now is the time. To our delight, the rotisserie started working and we shouted, "Praise the Lord." Miracle #2.
So we arrive at the Food Truck Bazaar 45 minutes behind schedule due to all the problems and a little stressed, turn on the rotisserie and sanitize the shelves with a propane blow torch. We start loading the rotisserie with pork butts (shoulders) in the normal fashion, and to our disgust and probably a few choice words, the rotisserie starts moving due to gravity in the wrong direction. So I say to Mike, " time for us to pray again." Turned on the rotisserie and it would not engage, but the good Lord did give me the idea to lift the shelves and unload the pork butts and attempt to loan them in a more balance fashion. Once unloaded the rotisserie appeared to spin fine, so we loaded the meat in a balanced fashion with the rotisserie rotating all the time and fired up the secondary grill just in case. It was a little tricky and we got a few burns but we eventually got a reasonable load on the smoker with only a few gear slips, thanked the Lord and started cooking. Miracle #3.
Running way behind schedule now, we are multitasking like crazy, smoking at a higher temp than usual, and checking the rotisserie every now and then to make sure it was still rotating. So it's 6:45pm and we have a line of about 20 people. So we change the opening time to 7:15pm and notify the line of the delay and what items would be available. Thankfully, no one left. Opened at 7:15pm to a line of about 50 people and it stayed that way until around 8:30pm. We served up our Jerk Chicken, Jerk Pork Jerk Shrimp and Vegan Island BBQ Boats in quick fashion to a great line of customers. One we got stated the line really moved. We had intermittent outages of jerk pork and jerk chicken due to our smoker issues, but never ran out of food.
Despite the challenges, everything turned out great, except the jerk shrimp that were very tasty, but a little overcooked and customers were happy.
The crowds started dying down around 9:30pm and only a few trucks continued to have long lines - Korean BBQ truck and the Chicken and Waffles truck. I was curious if these trucks food was so good or if they were just slow. Since I didn't get a chance to try the trucks at the first food truck bazaar, I took the opportunity to take advantage of the slow down and walk around. Had a chance to try the ribs at Firehouse BBQ and the beef taco at Korean BBQ and both were excellent. At the end of the night, the Lord reminded us of the miracles as we attempted to clean the cooking shelves and they would stop rotating when we applied a little force to the grill brush.
So in summary, the Lord was miraculous that night, and the second bazaar was even better than the first - great food, great music, plenty of space and parking, opportunity to eat at multiple if not all the trucks if you had a big budget and stomach. Only thing missing were portable toilets. Looking forward to the Orlando Food Truck Bazaar #3 and no problems, Mon!
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp, UrbanSpoon and www.CKJerkShack.com .